Cliff Pinchbeck was born in Cleethorpes in 1925 and began his career at Scunthorpe United, before moving on to Everton. He played three First Division games for Theo Kelly’s “Toffees” in 2947-48 before leaving Goodson Park for Don Welsh’s Brighton & Hove Albion. He helped the Seagulls to finish sixth in the Third Division South in 1948-49. He left the Goldstone Ground and joined league rivals Port Vale for a £3,500 fee in November 1949.
He made a perfect start for his new club, scoring a hat-trick in a 4–0 win over Millwall on 12 November. He went on to finish the 1949-50 campaign as the club’s top-scorer with 16 goals in 31 appearances – twice as many goals as his nearest rivals. He hit 19 goals in 34 games in 1950-51 to become the club’s top-scorer for a second successive season. However, he was transfer-listed and dropped from the side by manager Gordon Hodgson in March 1951, and failed to turn up at the start of the 1951-52 season, because of illness. He regained his first team place in September 1951 under new boss Ivor Powell, and hit five goals in 13 games in 1951-52.
He finally got his wish, and secured a move away from Vale Park in November 1951, when he was sold to league rivals Northampton Town for ‘an undisclosed sum’. Cliff scored three goals in three league games for Bob Dennison’s “ Cobblers” in 1951-53 He left the County Ground, and signed for Southern League side Bath City in August 1953, scoring 23 goals within his first year. He moved on to Western League side Salisbury in January 1955.